Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
The Father and I are one.( Jn10/32).
Jesus was no stranger to criticism and opposition, conflict and confrontation. The Gospels repeatedly narrate to us that the scribes and Pharisees were finding fault with Jesus right from the beginning of his public life. They were plotting to destroy him from the outset ( Mk 3/6b). In the Gospel today we have a classical instance of confrontation. The Jews gathered round him and said to him: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly”( v 24).
How does Jesus respond to conflicts? The response of Jesus to conflicts is the source of inspiration and strength for each one of us. Though he reaffirms his conviction about his life and mission and even accuses them of unbelief, the bottom line of his response is the last verse, v 30 of today. I and the Father are one.
Jesus, the master psychologist, teaches us what many modern mental health experts too tell us about how to face conflicts. The external situations of conflict are beyond our control. The power to face conflicts and not be overwhelmed by them and transcend them comes from one’s basic character strengths. Jesus lived in the imperturbable awareness of his unity with his heavenly Father. This was the source of ineffable strength and power in his life. He was never perturbed by opposition or criticism because he believed firmly that God was in control of his life and no human authority could exert greater influence in his life.
How do we face conflicts? If we too are convinced of God and Jesus dwelling in us, guiding us every moment of our life, no external situation or event can afflict us. As Victor Frankl, the world-renowned father of Logo Therapy has taught us, this is the ultimate freedom, which no external power or authority can take away from us; the freedom of how to respond to situations. When we believe, when we feel God’s presence within us as Jesus did, no external situation can shake our serenity or peace. May Jesus be our model and inspiration. During his final discourse at the Last Supper, Jesus foretells how his disciples would desert him at the passion. He knows that they will leave him alone. Nevertheless, he concludes; I am not alone, for the father is with me ( Jn 16/32). May each one of us have the grace to live in this unshakeable awareness, I am not alone, for the Father is with me.